Estate Planning Pitfall: You Haven’t Coordinated Beneficiary Designations With Your Will 

If it’s been years since you drafted or last updated your will, it likely references many of your existing assets, such as retirement plan accounts and life insurance policies. You also have paperwork on file with the applicable financial institutions. It’s possible that you have modified one of these documents after life events such as new births, deaths, or relationship changes without updating the other document.

It’s important to keep your will as well as your retirement plan or life insurance documents up to date. If your will names different beneficiaries from your documents on file, which one controls who these assets go to?

The beneficiary designations in your retirement plan and life insurance documents supersede what is written in your will. However, having different beneficiaries listed could cause conflict, confusion, and turmoil for your loved ones. It’s possible that one party may even try to legally challenge it.

If vital information isn’t kept up-to-date in your documents, this can also lead to unintended consequences.

These problems can be avoided by making sure to coordinate your will with other legally binding documents. You may also choose to modify your will to keep specifics about retirement plans and life insurance policies to a minimum (or even omit them entirely).

Be sure to update your retirement plan and life insurance documents with your changing life circumstances. You can revise the language in these documents following the birth of a new family member or your adult child’s relationship change.

Finally, make sure to continue to check back and review the documents periodically to ensure they are still up-to-date and align with your wishes.

For help with your estate plan, contact us at Wilson and Wilson Estate Planning and Elder Law, LLC at 708 482 7090 for our main office in LaGrange, Illinois or at 847 656 8958 for our Northbrook, Illinois office.